If social media…and trolls…had existed in the ’50s

Since my radio show focuses on tunes from the ’50s I’ve often wondered what teens back then would have said on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Imagine a 13-year-old Myra Gale Brown posting, “I’m so in love with Jerry Lee.” That would be Jerry Lee Lee Lewis, her then 22-year-old second cousin. The couple married but when the Lewises landed in London, England, the British newspaper writers wondered who was clinging to the American rock and roller.

 

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“She’s my wife.”

Wife? How old is she? Lewis said Myra was 15, not a whole lot better than 13 to the English journalists, though Myra did say that back home in Louisiana, some girls had married at the age of 11. The scandal killed the Killer’s career and it took him several years to regain even a small fraction of the fame he’d achieved with Great Balls of Fire and Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.

I’m a fan of the app, Periscope. If you’re not familiar with it, Persciope is like live video with a Twitter feed. Users go live on their webcams and followers can post comments in real time, and the broadcasters can respond.

NAME THAT TUNE

I follow a fellow named Mark Loewy, who plays a version of “Name That Tune.” Mark was going live every Sunday night though he’s been absent for a month.

About a month ago,  the live ‘scope  listings featured a young lady playing a Gibson Flying V guitar. Her broadcasts usually have titles like, “Guitar practice,” or “Playing riffs.” I tuned in, and here was a 14-year-old ripping through tunes by Metallica, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult and more Metallica (her favourite band, featuring her favourite guitarist, Kirk Hammett).

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This self-taught musician who plays by ear was trolled earlier this week and it was tough to watch. She’s a big wrestling fan and, suffice to say, someone in the chat pretended to be her wrestling hero, Jeff Hardy. The troll had scanned her Instagram photos, noticed one of the young lady wearing a Hardy t-shirt, and joined the chat as the “REaljeffHardy” or something like that.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE HE’S IN HERE”

She put her Flying V down when she saw the name. The girl was gushing  and starstruck, though she did wonder if the poster was legit. She decided he was. Others in the chat said he wasn’t. They clicked on his profile and typed, “He’s a fake.”

In the end, the charming, well mannered and modest 14-year-old whose fingers had been flying across the fretboard on tunes like Seek and Destroy, Symphony of Destruction and even a pretty damn good rendition of Eddie Van Halen’s finger tapping instrumental, Eruption, accepted the truth.

He was a troll. She was crushed and disillusioned.

I won’t give her Periscope or Twitter handle because I know she’s still getting over the disappointment. She’s a great kid. I haven’t had children…always figured it would happen but it didn’t…but I would be very proud to have a daughter like this, who practices guitar several hours a day and decided to broadcast via Periscope in the hope of inspiring others to learn instruments and follow their dreams.

IT IS A LONG WAY TO THE TOP IF YOU WANT TO ROCK AND ROLL

Miss Flying V continues to broadcast. She’s wise beyond her years but fake Jeff Hardy may have made the young lady wiser and tougher, and I’m betting she’ll play with even more passion and fire.

Rock on, my string-bending young friend. You have a gift and I thank you for sharing it with me, and many others who have been amazed by the sight of a teenager playing War Pigs, Smoke on the Water and Don’t Fear the Reaper…and “One” by Metallica.

About johnnymaraca

host of Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot, the rockingest show on the radio. 60 years of rockin' rhythm and blues, from the late '40s pioneers like Louis Jordan to Elvis, Chuck Berry, CCR, Stray Cats, Ramones and tons more. Friday and Saturday nights at 7 on 97.7 the Beach, listen live at http://977thebeach.ca, and WRSG in Middlebourne, West Virginia, Tuesdays 6-8 pm.
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